The optimism we felt about job growth at the start of this year has turned into full-blown confidence as organizations across our region are ramping up hiring. But despite a national unemployment rate hovering around six percent, employers in nearly every industry report they are struggling to find employees to fill open positions. Though there is no single solution to finding and attracting talent, there are some steps organizations can take to increase success in this candidate-driven labor market.
Don’t wait for candidates to find you
We continue to hear stories about openings going unfilled and job postings that attract few qualified candidates. Outreach to passive job candidates used to be the norm for executive roles but is quickly becoming necessary to attract workers at all levels. Whether you tap into your professional network or search for potential candidates online, invest the time to identify and go after the talent you most want.
Keep it simple
Employees have options in this job market and aren’t hesitating to move on if the hiring process moves too slowly, the job application is cumbersome, or even if interview times don’t work with their schedule. When you find someone who fits the must-haves for your role move quickly to make the offer and reduce roadblocks.
Expand your candidate pool
If you’re struggling to attract new job applicants, look back at those who applied to your organization in the past as some may fit current hiring needs or have gained additional experience. Also consider reaching out to former employees who might miss your organization’s culture, people, or benefits.
Perhaps the pandemic’s biggest long-term impact on organizational culture will be the shift toward flexibility – where, how, and when we work. A Harvard Business School study found 81% of professionals either don’t want to go back to the office or would choose a hybrid schedule post-pandemic. Even industries like manufacturing are coming up with creative solutions to add flexibility when possible. Ignoring this trend could result in higher turnover in the coming months as employees leave for the flexibility they want.
Target key audiences
A staggering 2 million fewer women are in the labor force today than before the pandemic began and an additional 2.4 million workers have left due to retirement. Though some of these individuals have exited the workforce for good, economists expect working moms will come back as vaccines become available to younger children and schools return in person this fall. Crafting a plan now to target working parents and recent retirees can help your organization get their attention before they go elsewhere.
Increase pay and incentives
Compensation is on the rise as organizations compete for talent and it’s not just salaries that are increasing. More organizations are offering hiring bonuses, stay bonuses when employees reach key milestones, and performance-based pay. If you haven’t conducted a salary survey recently it’s time to ensure your wages are competitive in today’s market.
Although we believe more workers will re-enter the job market by early fall, we expect the talent shortage to continue through the remainder of the year and into 2022. Because of this, organizations need to put extra focus on retaining the talent they most want to keep so they can reduce the number of roles they need to fill.
This article originally appeared in the Cincinnati Business Courier in July 2021.